Building And Sustaining A Marketing And Sales Culture At Your Law Firm (Or, How to Make Marketing Really Matter) By John Remsen, Jr.


Getting lawyers and law firms do things differently is not an easy task and instilling a marketing mindset among lawyers is a major effort for most firms, resembling the proverbial challenge of “herding cats.”

A national consulting firm recently examined personalities of lawyers from around the country using the Caliper personality index and was able to quality what many of us have known for years. Compared to the rest of us, lawyers

• Hate change, respecting precedent because it was drilled into them at law school;

• Are highly skeptical of new ideas and concepts, demanding proof that change will work;

• Love autonomy, preferring their own judgment over that of any hierarchy or policy; and

• Have a high sense of urgency, expecting immediate results on even complex efforts.

It’s not surprising, then, that most law firms (especially smaller and mid-size firms) operate much like fraternities. Governance and decision-making are often difficult and time-consuming, because everyone wants a voice in the process. However, the most profitable firms are moving closer to a corporate model of governance, with institutional goals, strong leadership and streamlined governance. They are also starting to embrace marketing, recognizing the need to get closer to existing clients and invest time and resources on focused, proactive strategies to go after new ones.

So why try to roll the marketing boulder uphill? Simply because any firm that wants to survive in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace must support a marketing and sales culture. Mergers, acquisitions and consolidations, rising associate salaries and operating costs, and client cost-cutting are making lawyers run their firms more like a business, and less like a profession. Failure to market brings red ink, irrelevance and an “out of business” sign on your door. Marketing is what enables a firm to attract and retain desirable clients, and it puts the firm in a position to fire the ones it no longer wants.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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